First Day Cover and stamp collecting a dying trend?
When you get more than two stamp dealers together (sorry I am not sure what the collective name for this is) the above question is sure to come up. This will also include the inevitable blaming of the youth of today for spending all there time crouched over computer screens and mobile phones rather than being crouched over a stamp album.
Well I would go with three points of view which are not all doom and gloom for the collectors market.
1. I think in the last ten years there has been a boom in antique collecting and lots more people are taking an interest. The Antiques Roadshow used to be the only programme to watch, but now every daylight hour is covered by a different collecting/auction/valuation style programme, everything from looking for antiques in your own home to buying hidden milk floats out of shipping containers. With the high cost of living, I’m sure many view these programmes as there chance to make a quick buck, or invest in for the longer term.
Stamps, first day covers, autograph collections do not appear in all of these TV shows, but they certainly turn up regularly which in my mind can’t do people’s interest and education any harm.
2. Secondly when I came into stamps 30 years ago, many stamp shops were closing, which has continued. Then apart from a few fairs there was no real alternative. Now we have the internet and eBay. Some might say it saturates the market, and is a potential minefield for forgeries, but that’s a discussion for another day!
This morning I looked at the 1974 Fire Service issue on eBay and found lots of covers, some terrible (your shop 50p tray), but some could be just what you are looking for sir?
3. Finally we know the interest is still out there, when we offered the Queen’s Longest Reign issue last year, it still bought in lots of new customers. Only a percentage will buy a second cover, and even less will become regular collectors, but this is no different than it has ever been and it does reassure us that there are still new collectors out there to be found.
If there is one thing I would change, which may help in another 30 years, it is to get more stamps used on the post. We have had this mentioned by the good and great of Royal Mail, but it never seems to happen and surely if more people are seeing the stamps on mail the more inclined they are to be interested?
By a show of hands/comments, who didn’t start off a collection, by soaking them off in a washing up bowl?
To me it always seems wrong that we are a stamp dealer and for us it is cheaper to use a ‘Postage Paid’ label on our items, rather than buy and use an actual stamp. Here’s to hoping that all that will change in the future.
By Brian Austin